Ebonised beech(?), parcel-gilt, with leather upholstery and tassel fringe (restored)
46 x 48 x 36 cm
English, circa 1827-44
William Beckford (1760-1844), Lansdown Tower, Bath; by descent (probably in 1846) to his daughter Susan Euphemia (1786-1859) and her husband the 10thDuke of Hamilton, probably for Easton Park, Suffolk; by descent to Mary Louise Graham, Duchess of Montrose (1884-1957), and by descent; sold Sotheby’s (London), 7 January 2019, lot 174,
‘William Beckford 1760-1844: An Eye for the Magnificent’, Bard Graduate Center, New York, 18 October 2001-6 January 2002 and Dulwich Picture Gallery, London, 5 February-14 April 2002 (one stool only)
Edmund English and Willes Maddox (illustrations), Views of Lansdown Tower, Bath, London, 1844, pl. 9
Derek E. Ostergard (ed.), William Beckford 1760-1844: An Eye for the Magnificent, New Haven & London, 2001, no. 147 (one stool only)
H. Blairman & Sons Ltd, Furniture and Works of Art (2019), no. 3
Beckford probably placed stools of this pattern in the Crimson Drawing Room at Lansdown Tower, but it seems likely that he owned at least six. On the sixth day of the 1845 Lansdown Tower sale, lot 386 was ‘Two stools to match’ the four chairs (see Ostergard, op. cit. no. 146) sold in the previous lot; four further stools were lots 387 and 388.
Two undocumented stools of this pattern, presumably from Lansdown Tower, have been offered on the art market over the past decade.
Based on research undertaken at the time of the 2001-02 exhibition,it is considered that earlier variants of this stool may have been created for Fonthill Abbey (see Ostergard, op. cit., under no. 147).
The design for the present ‘old English’ stool derives from seventeenth-century prototypes. As an example, see Ralph Edwards, The Shorter Dictionary of English Furniture, London, 1964, 1974 edn, p. 500, fig. 3, a painted stool covered with fringed velvet.